October 2005

Galina Gorchakova and Moscow Chamber Orchestra
Constantine Orbelian, conductor
October 6, 2005George Weston Recital HallToronto
Alive Music in Weston Recital Hall
by Stanley Fefferman
The ‘Prelude’ opening Grieg’s Holberg Suite is sweetly lyrical with some hoppy and swirly bits and, like a lot of Grieg’s music, has a grand anthemic sweep. The Moscow Chamber Orchestra, conducted barehanded by Maestro Constantine Orbelian, let the dynamics flow responsively between the delicate and firmer tones, setting a standard for impeccability that never faltered during the evening.

The succeeding ‘Sarabande’ gave a different kind of pleasure with the swelling strings propelled by the throbbing bass; the ‘Gavot’, oh so familiar as the theme of some CBC Radio show, is a catchy tune. This was followed by the gorgeous ‘Aria’, slow and stately, sailing by like a flock of swans on a moonlit lake. Although no faults had registered in my ear thus far, by the closing ‘Rigadon’, that fling-like dance, the orchestra had warmed up and seemed to be breathing like a single creature creating lots of breathing space for the audience.

Enter Galina Gorchakova, a creamy, statuesque brunette, sheathed in black velvet and extravagantly draped in purple raw silk. This legendary dramatic soprano from Valéry Gergiev’s Kirov Opera began her performance with Rubenstien’s “The Night”, the rich, heavily coloured tones of her voice, full of power, yet somehow conveying intimacy as well.

Her song, Glinka’s “Ya Zdes Inezilla”, a lively arioso-serenade in bolero style portraying a Russian Don Juan allowed Gorchakova to convey shifting attitudes of seduction, bravado, energy, and a bit of satire. The rest of her program consisted of three songs by Rachmaninoff, very Russian, very emotional. Her interpretation of his “Spring Waters”, sounding kind of Broadway, brought the largely Russian crowd to its feet.

Maestro Orbelian, a warm but contained man who resembles Rob Reiner, kissed Gorchakova’s cheeks and hand, the concertmaster kissed her hand, she gave two encores, and after a brief intermission, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra showed it’s virtuosity and passion in performances of Prokofiev’s “Visions Fugitives”, and Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings, Op. 48.

Galina Gorchakova
Orbelian’s ace, in my opinion, is his power to maintain a sense of delicacy in the midst of ecstatic flights, as in the Walzer movement of the “Serenade”, a waltz which, by the way, outStrausses Strauss. One instance of Orbelian’s control occurs towards the end of the “Elegie” movement where he arrests a robust passage with infinite gradations of tone till it lands on a silence like a butterfly.

The pleasure to be had from such a world-class ensemble rekindles a sense of optimism about just being alive. You could see that in the audience streaming out of the hall towards their transportation. We have Show One productions and producer Svetlana Dvoretskaia to thank for this.

We welcome your comments and feedback
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Stanley Fefferman
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The Live Music Report

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